Cistus laurifolius, commonly called laurel-leaf cistus,laurel-leaved cistus or laurel-leaved rock rose, is a species of highly branched flowering evergreenshrubnative to some areas around the Mediterranean. It grows 0.8–2 m (2 ft 7 in–6 ft 7 in) high. The branches are strong and erect, with reddish bark that is easily removed in strips. The leaves are larger than in the other species of Cistus, up to 9 cm (4 in) long, lanceolate, dark green, while the underside is whitish due to trichomes. The flowering occurs in late spring (May–June), later than most rockroses. It bears white flowers with a yellow spot in each petal, of 4.5–5 cm diameter It is widely cultivated in gardens, and has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
Cistus laurifolius has a disjunct natural distribution, in the Western Mediterranean area (Morocco, Portugal, Spain, southern France, Corsica and Tuscany), the Aegean[clarification needed] and Anatolia.
With the general warming of the atmosphere and the consequent withdrawal of the ice, flora surviving from Tertiary times could not re-establish their range in southern Europe;[clarification needed] the new post-glacial climate was drier than that of the Tertiary. The original tropical European flora evolved into the present Mediterranean sclerophyll flora. The distribution of some surviving species, such as Cistus laurifolius, moved to wetter areas such as the mountains. Due to this, C. laurifolius is named in Spanish in its distribution area as "mountain rockrose", although in the coastal west and northwest Iberian Peninsula, it is found at sea level.[dubious– discuss]
Cistus shrubland, including C. laurifolius, survives fire and has seeds that germinate after fire.